UKZN Grows Its Own Timber to Transform Academia

In an effort to contribute towards the transformation of the academic landscape in South Africa, the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Human Resources Development Unit established the Talent Excellence and Equity Acceleration Scholarship in 2014 which forms part of the University’s Graduate Development Programme.

The Scholarship targets top performing Undergraduate African students in their final year of study with the aim to nurture and groom them for academic positions at UKZN.

One of the 2018 recipients of this Scholarship is Master of Laws cum laude graduate, Mr Andile Khumalo, who has embarked on a PhD journey in order to contribute, in a meaningful way, to South Africa’s knowledge development. ‘I am passionate about the law and my dream is to contribute in some meaningful way towards the development of our country’s legal system, particularly in the sphere of Employment Law. I believe that labour is an integral aspect of life because it ultimately determines the quality of life that people eventually lead,’ he said.

Khumalo is currently employed as a Labour Legal Advisor at the Small Enterprise Employers of South Africa (SEESA) which is a labour consultancy firm in Durban. He believes that the exposure he is acquiring at SEESA will enable him to gain the necessary practical experience regarding the subject matter that forms the basis of his research for PhD and later make him a well-rounded scholar.

‘The Scholarship comes with many benefits, including coaching and mentoring that develops the candidates as academics,’ said Ms Busisiwe Ramabodu, Human Resources Development Director at UKZN. ‘The other major benefit is that each candidate is guaranteed an academic post at UKZN upon completion of their doctoral studies,’ she added.

Over the past four years, 20 out 35 recipients of the Scholarship are doctoral candidates, with the balance of the students pursuing Honours and Master’s degrees. One participant is already an employee at UKZN.

Khumalo is proud to be one of the recipients of this remarkable scholarship. ‘The scholarship’s aims and objectives are truly transformative and commendable. I feel particularly privileged to have been awarded the scholarship. I hope to make the most of it and become one of its success stories.’

As the eldest of two siblings, Khumalo is determined to be a good example to them and to inspire them to believe that anything is possible if they set their minds on it and work hard to achieve it.

Words: Hazel Langa

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal